Chargers’ Stevie Johnson on penalty: “I have to be smarter”

AP

The Chargers appeared to be closing in on a game-clinching touchdown when Stevie Johnson caught a pass at the Bears’ 4-yard line in the fourth quarter last night. And then Johnson spiked the ball.

That spike was flagged or delay of game, moving the chargers back to the 9-yard line, and they ended up settling for a field goal. The penalty may have cost the Chargers four points in a game they lost by three, and Johnson acknowledged afterward that he made a big mistake.

“I was just trying to get in the end zone and got slipped up,” Johnson said. “We were in the middle of the game, showing emotion and they called a flag. I have to be smarter about that.”

Johnson said the Chargers are a learning team.

“We just have to be better,” Johnson said. “We just have to be more disciplined, I guess. And we have to be able to fight through it and overcome. We’re learning. It’s a learning process right now and we’ll get better.”

The problem for the Chargers is that they’re running out of time to get better. The loss to the Bears dropped San Diego to 2-7, tied with the Browns for the worst record in the AFC. For a team that entered the season with playoff hopes, that’s a huge disappointment.